Here are today’s headlines:
Snapchat reportedly prepares for stock market flotation
Snap Inc, the parent company which owns the photo-messaging application Snapchat, has reportedly filed to list on the US stock market. The company is reportedly planning to go public as soon as March. Analysts estimate that, based on investments so far, this would value the application at a rate between $20 billion and $25 billion (£16 billion-£20 billion). This would be the US’s largest technology flotation since Facebook listed on the stock exchange in 2012.
Several reports indicate that Snapchat has filed a confidential application for an IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. US legislation allows companies with a revenue of less than $1billion to secretly file. This allows companies to test the appetite amongst investors whilst keeping their financial information confidential, which is beneficial from a competition viewpoint.
Flotations in the past have been risky for social media companies. An example of this is Twitter, whose stock has not been performing well. Advertising sales are the only significant form of revenue for Snapchat, which raises issues of sustainability. On the other hand, Snapchat has a large market share, and part of the reason for this is that it constantly updates with new features. Furthermore, the company recently launched their Spectacles hardware, which indicates that the company is diversifying and growing.
UN accuses Russia of multiple human rights abuses in Crimea
A draft UN resolution has condemned Russia for committing multiple human rights abuses within Crimea. Russia urged the General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee to vote against the resolution, but it was approved by a vote of 73 to 23, with 76 abstaining. Countries such as the UK and the US voted in favour of the resolution, whilst Russia, Syria, Iran and China all voted against the motion.
The draft resolution calls on Russia to uphold its obligations as an occupying power, and to immediately end all abuses occurring in the region. This includes stopping all torture, revoking discriminatory legislation and releasing Ukrainians who have been illegally detained. Russia should also ensure unimpeded access for human rights monitoring missions. Before the vote, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergiy Kyslyrsya informed the Committee that the main goal was to ensure that Russia fully complied with its obligations.
Russian officials have opposed the draft and have described it as one sided and politically motivated. Russian Foreign Ministry Official Anatoly Viktorov stated that “it completely ignores the negative impact that the actions of Ukrainian authorities have had on the residents of Crimea”. However, US ambassador Samantha Power disagrees. She states that human rights abuses have steeply risen since the occupation “, including the severe curtailment of the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and religion or belief.” Human rights groups have raised specific concerns over freedom of speech and freedom of association in Crimea. The draft resolution is expected to pass in the full UN General Assembly in December.
Government Minister confirms that the GDPR will be implemented in the UK
The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) will apply in the UK from the 25th May 2018. The Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP stated that the UK will still be a member of the EU in May 2018 and therefore the UK would be expected to opt into the GDPR, and “then look later at how best we might be able to help British business with data protection while maintaining high levels of protection for members of the public.” Its implementation has been further confirmed by Matt Hancock, the country’s digital minister.
The GDPR applies to the processing of personal data of any organization that is established within the EU. Companies that are not based within the EU but have offices in the EU, such as Google, will be subject to these rules within the member states of which they operate. It places specific legal obligations requiring the stricter control of data, data processing, access to one’s own personal data and confidentiality (the full rules of which are beyond the scope of this update). Penalties for breaches can include fines of €10 million or 2% of the company’s global revenue. More serious breaches could be fined €20 million or 4% of the company’s global revenue.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner has stated that its implementation within the UK is beneficial. However, she acknowledged that there may still be questions about how the GDPR would work with the UK leaving the EU, but this should not distract from compliance. The Information Commission plans to publish a revised timeline setting out the areas of guidance it will prioritise, to assist businesses and the government with both adopting and complying with the new law.
- Unemployment falls to 11-year low (BBC News)
- Facebook, and the trouble in being everything to everyone (The Economist)
- Buy-to-let crackdown will ‘end the dreams’ of middle-class investors (The Telegraph)
- RBS may be fined more than $12bn to settle US mis-selling scandal (The Guardian)
- DNA-editing breakthrough could fix ‘broken genes’ in the brain, delay ageing and cure incurable diseases’ (The Independent)
- Tesco Shares Rally (The Student Lawyer)
- Croydon tram crash: Driver ‘doing 43.5mph in 12mph zone’ (BBC News)